Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies used excessive force in detaining a homeless man for a curfew violation and they violated his civil rights in the process.
Responding deputies used unsanctioned restraining techniques including applying a knee to Mr. Roosevelt Davis’s back and neck while he was already prone, face down on the dirt, and they discounted his repeated calls of, “I can’t breathe.” They punched him repeatedly and Mr. Davis believed he was going to die that evening. After a deputy handcuffed Mr. Davis and got off his neck, the deputy repeatedly knocked on Mr. Davis’s head with his fist in a “think McFly, think” style display demanding answers to his questions.
Instead of applying the de-escalation policies the Office already has in place (which would have prevented Mr. Davis from injury and fear for his life) the deputies chose to engage in a melee of sorts, hitting Mr. Davis and choking him. After the event, Mr. Davis recounted the scenario on body cameras, looking up at deputies stating, “Do you see why I’m scared? This is why I’m scared!”
The excessive use of force unfortunately validated Mr. Davis’s anxiety, and it underscored the feeling expressed by millions of others across the country who are fearful of disparate treatment at the hands of law enforcement. Deputies’ body cameras captured Mr. Davis’s repeated call, “This is why a black man is afraid in his own neighborhood.”
At the end of the ordeal, while Mr. Davis was handcuffed in the back of a deputy’s vehicle, law enforcement video shows a deputy telling Mr. Davis, “I’m gonna look for you. Every time I get a chance to stop you.”
Mr. Davis wants the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to acknowledge that the use of force used against him was excessive and inappropriate.
Mr. Davis wants the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to hold itself accountable for violating the use of force policies already in place designed to prevent these encounters from occurring.
Mr. Davis demands compensation for the permanent injuries sustained during the encounter and for the violation of his civil rights.
Finally, Mr. Davis hopes that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement officers everywhere will use this interaction to better understand the mistrust and fear that many everyday Americans experience during contact with the police.
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